Director: George C. Wolfe

94, R

Screenwriter: Ruben Santiago-Hudson, based on the play by August Wilson.

Cast: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts.


The final performance of 43-year-old Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther, Da 5 Bloods), in a film based on the play by August Wilson is a cinematic event that deserves to be seen on the big screen. Viola Davis plays pioneering blues artist Ma Rainey, who struggled to take control of her career in an industry run by white men. Wilson’s play is mainly set in a recording studio, where everyone’s desires are at odds: an ambitious cornet player (Boseman) tries to promote his songs, white producers try for a hit, and Ma Rainey fights to keep her integrity and Black culture alive and swinging. This powerful, bittersweet film, with the music of saxophonist/composer Branford Marsalis is a tribute to the life and gifts of Chadwick Boseman. Davis and Boseman won Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Actor.

“A reclamation of Black music and culture… with indelible composition and striking performances, which are owned by their Black creators and can’t be taken away.” – Aisha Harris, NPR.